Happy Thursday, Offbeaters! In today’s post, we’re going to talk about writing. I mean, why wouldn’t we? According to the wise wizard, Albus Dumbledore: “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.” I’m the last person to argue with a wizard and I do love magic.
However, we’re not just going to talk about writing—which we certainly love here at The Offbeat—but we’re going to have a brutally honest discussion on the things about writing that leave us asking why we decided to do this to ourselves as we then proceed to throw our laptops out the window.
To do this, I’m going to be enlisting some help from people who, in my opinion, seem to know quite a bit about the art.
Let’s start with the overall idea of what writing is like:
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway
This observation is unquestionably relatable on so many levels. Every writer knows what it’s like to sit down before a blank page and have an insurmountable feeling of doom fall over that small, white rectangle of nothingness (and if there are writers who haven’t, they’re probably not doing it right). This horrible feeling of dread seems to always be looking over your shoulder and telling you every word you write is an evil sin committed against the art, especially just when you feel like you’re doing it right. However, there is a remedy to this that pulls us through in the end: inspiration.
But we simply can’t take the wonder that is inspiration for granted:
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
― Jack London
London has a great point here because one of the easiest excuses to not write is to be “uninspired.” After all, isn’t it inspiration that gives significance to writing? To be inspired and inspire others? But something to keep in mind is that if a car runs out of gas, it won’t fill the tank back up on its own. Inspiration is no different, so if you find yourself in a rut, go out and find the countless sources of inspiration all around. It could be tadpoles or a misshapen chicken nugget for all you know. And who ever said you had to wait for inspiration or finding it was a coincidence?
The answer is no one ever said that (hence why it’s not in this blog). But someone did say this:
“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
― Mark Twain
We can all agree with Twain on this one because nothing’s worse than having inspiration and not knowing how to put it down on paper in a way that does it justice. It’s like your favorite food is right in front of you, but you’re only allowed to smell it. Finding the “right word” seems like the entire uphill battle that is writing, but this is where patience, practice, and determination comes in (or a dictionary or thesaurus in dire situations). This certainly isn’t always easy like Hemingway explained to us above, but it is always worth it.
With all these distressing bits of knowledge from authorities on the craft aside, I’ll leave it to the King of Horror to tell us the pinnacle of fear when it comes to writing:
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
― Stephen King
Amazingly, it’s as simple as that. If you don’t start putting all these things that make up writing on the page—letters, punctuation, and ideas—then who will? Writing may be a daunting task, but at the end of the day it’s one of the truest forms of magic in which we can create new worlds and people, while also creating change our world and in ourselves.
So, whatever you do, keep writing—no matter how rocky, zany, excruciating, or wonderful the journey becomes. Maybe this weekend make your life even more magical with some time spent on the written craft.
Stay writing, stay sane, and most importantly, stay weird.
(This post is accredited to our lovely publications team member, Nicole Gaukel)